Facebook in Nielsen tie-up

23 September 2009

PALO ALTO, California: Facebook, the social networking pioneer, has forged an alliance with Nielsen, the media measurement company, which will provide advertisers with a greater degree of insight into the impact of the display ads run on its website.

It has been estimated that Facebook will post revenues of around $500 million this year, and the popular portal hosted 9.1% of all display ads viewed in the US in July, compared with a total of 6.8% in January, comScore has estimated.

Not only have a variety of brands been seeking to use this channel on an informal basis, but a growing number are also looking to employ more established forms of advertising on its pages, although concerns over the efficacy of such a strategy have remained in place thus far.

In an effort to redress this trend, Facebook will now regularly survey its members about the display advertising featured across the various sections of its service, and deliver the results to Nielsen.

This new offering, which will be called Nielsen Brand Lift, is intended to show advertisers that the Palo Alto-based web property constitutes an effective way for marketers to communicate with consumers.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, argued website owners must look to independent sources to achieve such a goal, as "it can't just be you who proves it. It has to be a third party."

Sony Pictures has used Nielsen Brand Lift to track the performance of display ads linked to some of its latest releases, such as Julie & Julia and District 9.

Michael Lynton, ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment, argued the results demonstrated a "significant increase" in overall levels of awareness.

Adopting a reliable measurement model will also make "a difference for calibrating how much money you're going to spend and how to spend it" as far as sites like Facebook are concerned, he added.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Daily Finance; additional content by WARC staff